When was the last time you read the story of Jonah and the fish? And in saying that I am not referring to the story in the children’s Bible. The Message reads something like this:
Running away from God:
Jonah got up and went the other direction to Tarshish, running away from God. – Verse 3
Ignoring God & going to sleep:
The ship was about to break into pieces. The sailors were terrified. They called out in desperation to their gods. They threw everything they were carrying overboard to lighten the ship. Meanwhile, Jonah had gone down into the hold of the ship to take a nap. He was sound asleep. – Verse 6
Acknowledging God while ignoring God:
“I’m a Hebrew. I worship God, the God of heaven who made sea and land.” – Verse 9
After Jonah acknowledged God, the other passengers recognized God as the only living God. Only then, they feared God and were too scared to overthrow Jonah. So they prayed and sought God’s guidance. Eventually they couldn’t stand it any longer and they threw Jonah in the water. The sea calmed and they started worshiping God.
God shows up even when we choose to ignore Him, despite our very best efforts to turn and run the other way.
When was the last time you held your breath for 3 days?
Jonah gets eaten by the fish, drowns in the fish’s stomach and stays there for 3 days and 3 nights. At the bottom of the ocean. Dead. No longer alive. After three days he pulls himself together and ask God for mercy.
Jonah goes where he was sent and does what he was told to do & Throws-a-giant-Temper-Tantrum
And when God shows mercy to the city of Nineveh. The same mercy God showed him, Jonah has the audacity to get angry with God, saying – “I knew You were going to save them and that was why I didn’t want to go in the first place.”
Jonah was furious. He lost his temper. He yelled at God, “God! I knew it—when I was back home, I knew this was going to happen! That’s why I ran off to Tarshish! I knew you were sheer grace and mercy, not easily angered, rich in love, and ready at the drop of a hat to turn your plans of punishment into a program of forgiveness! – Jonah 4:1-2
God is sheer grace and mercy, not easily angered, rich in love, and He has already forgiven us. He has already sent His Son to die for us on the cross. We no longer need to fear, the battle is won. The enemy defeated.
I encourage you to read the story for yourself, I found it pretty entertaining!
So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. – Isa 55:11 [AMPC]
This story brings new perspective. How often haven’t I been a Jonah? A naughty child who doesn’t want to obey my Father. I will keep the rest of Jonah’s story for another post – but read ahead if you’re up to it. The impact of obedience had a massive ripple-effect in the city of Nineveh. Perhaps we don’t always see or know what the ripple-effect will be for being obedient? Perhaps we don’t always have to know? Knowing that our God won’t ask us to do something if there isn’t a plan behind it, should be enough?
P.S. Don’t you just love the illustrations of Jonah and the
fish whale? And what a friendly whale he was!